Ohio Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents. Use the free download to see how it can help you.
You can also use Custody X Change to:
- Explore options for your visitation schedule
- Negotiate a schedule and agreement with the other parent
- Show your attorney schedules that you like
- Prepare sample schedules and plans for mediation
- Make a schedule and plan to present in court
The State of Ohio has legislation in place that should be kept in mind when creating a child visitation schedule so you can better your chances of having a positive outcome in your case.
The Ohio Revised Code, Title 31, Domestic Relations-Children, contains the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation in the state.
The Code contains the laws that allow the court to consider the wishes of the parents as to the parenting arrangements of their child, defines the terminology used in court and court documents, and lists the factors the court considers when ruling on custody.
When you are familiar with the laws, you are better equipped to create a child visitation schedule the court will approve of.
Ohio does not have any laws in place regarding the specifics of a child visitation schedule, except that it should be written in the best interest of the child.
Children need stability, and your child visitation schedule should provide your child with structure. Your schedule should ensure your child has the opportunity to spend an appropriate amount of time with both parents, as long as it is in the best interest of the child.
Chapter 3109.04 has the provisions and statutes about allocating parental rights and responsibilities and shared parenting. This chapter explains that parents really have two choices when it comes to how they will divide parental responsibility.
The first option is that one parent is given primary rights and responsibilities regarding the care of the children and that parent is the residential parent and the legal custodian of the children.
The other option is for the parents to create a shared parenting plan where they share all or some of the parental responsibilities and custody of the children.
The State of Ohio considers all of the relevant factors in a child's life when determining the best interests of the child (ORC § 3109.04(F)(1)), including, but not limited to:
- The wishes of the parents
- Any expressed wishes of the child
- The child's relationships and bonds with each of his or her parents, any siblings, and any other people that have a significant effect on the child
- The child's adjustment to his or her school, home, and community
- Whether or not a parent has moved or intends to move out of the state
- The physical and mental health of all parties involved
- The moral fitness of the parents
- Whether or not there has been any abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, or any other crimes committed that would pose a threat to the child or the other parent
- Whether or not a parent is likely to comply with the court ordered parenting arrangements
- Whether or not a parent has neglected to comply with a court order by failing to pay child support
Prior to awarding a court order for a shared parenting arrangement, the court will also consider some factors that allow the court to determine whether or not such an arrangement is feasible (ORC § 3109.04(F)(2)).
- The likeliness and ability of the parents to work together for the sake of the child to make decisions about the child
- Whether or not each parent has the capacity to foster and encourage a loving, close relationship between the child and the other parent
- The distance between the homes of the parents
- The proximity of the parents' home to the child's school
If there has been any history of abuse or domestic violence committed by one or both parents against the other, this may have a significant impact on the court's decision.
Also, the opinion and recommendation of a guardian ad litem, if one was appointed, will weigh heavily on the judge's ruling.
There are a few things you should consider when creating your Ohio child visitation schedule:
- The State of Ohio does not favor one parent over another, based on gender.
- In the eyes of the law, both parents involved in domestic cases involving children are considered to be equally entitled to the parentage of their child (ORC § 3109.03).
- Children benefit from frequent, ongoing contact with both parents, unless a situation is present that would warrant a different arrangement, such as abuse or neglect.
- If parents are unable to agree on a child visitation schedule, one will be created for them by a mediator, guardian ad litem, or the judge, which may or may not be favorable to the parents or to the child.
Your child visitation schedule should include a residential schedule that specifies the days and time your child will spend time with each parent on a regular basis. It should also include a holiday schedule and a vacation schedule.
Many parents opt to alternate holidays during the year, alternating them every year. The times the parents agree each holiday should start and end should be included. For example, the Thanksgiving holiday could start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and end at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The vacation schedule can be clearly defined or you may allot each parent a certain amount of time to spend with the child for vacations, and specify an amount of advanced notice the parent requesting vacation needs to give the other parent.
A lot of parents schedule a school age child's vacation time around their school schedule, allowing vacation time during winter, spring, and summer vacations.
As long as you both agree to the child visitation schedule and it allows your child an appropriate amount of time to bond with each parent, and it is written in the best interest of the child, it should be approved by the court.
The top twenty cities in Ohio (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Canton, Parma, Youngstown, Lorain, Hamilton, Springfield, Elyria, Kettering, Mentor, Middleton, Cuyahoga Falls, Lakewood, Mansfield, Euclid.